Legit Video Card Reviews
NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 SLI Video Card Review w/ ASUS, EVGA & MSI
|Product:||GeForce GTS 450|
|Date:||Sun, Sep 12, 2010 - 11:00 PM|
|Written By:||Nathan Kirsch -|
A Closer Look At The GeForce GTS450
The PCB on the reference NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 video card measures 8.25 inches in length
and the card stands at 4.376 inches tall. The card features a dual-slot cooling design for maximum cooling performance as it helps exhaust the hot air out of your PC case.
Flipping the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 video card video card over we don't find too many interesting things, but the card does have a back plate on it behind the GPU that has the only four screws used to hold the GPU cooler and shroud to the PCB. The reference design has eight other screw holes on it, but none were being used. It will be interesting to see if retail board partners will utilize these mounting holes for different GPU coolers.
We noticed as soon as we took the GeForce GTS 450 out of the protective static wrap bag that something looked off with the graphics card. We discovered that NVIDIA reduced the number of 'pins' that are used on the GTS 450! The picture above shows an MSI GeForce GTX 460 768MB video card (the black PCB) sitting on top of the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB (the green PCB). As you can see from the image a large number of pins are missing from this side and the back is missing just as many. We contacted NVIDIA to see the reason for the design change and were told this:
We have removed a few pins assigned to unused functions such as JTAG and RSVD. A few GND connections that are not required for this board design were also removed. These changes do not impact performance or signal reliability and it still fully supports PCI Express 2.0 x16 specifications. - NVIDIA PR
Notice that along the top edge of the GeForce GTS 450 that one SLI connector is placed on the card. This means that SLI and 3D Vision Surround configurations are supported, but it will not be able to run triple-SLI, ever.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 video card requires a 400 Watt or greater power supply with a minimum of 22 Amps on the +12 volt rail. It also requires that the power supply has one 6-pin PCI Express power connector for proper connection. It should be noted that the NVIDIA minimum system power requirement is based on a PC configured with an Intel Core i7 3.2GHz CPU. If you want to run SLI we are not sure of the exact specifications, but an educated guess would say that a 450 Watt or greater power supply would be needed.
Notice that the 75mm cooling fan used on the GeForce GTS 450 extends past the plastic housing. We were told it was designed this way to help pull in cooler air from outside the fan shroud. Under the 75mm cooling fan, NVIDIA is using a radial curved bifurcated fin aluminum heatsink design on the GeForce GTS 450 video card that does not use any heat pipes as you will see when we take apart the video card.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 GDDR5 graphics card has a pair of
dual-link DVI-I outputs along with a mini-HDMI output header. The NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 features enhanced audio support over HDMI; this includes bitstreaming support for both Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio over HDMI.
No GPU review would be complete without a look under the hood of the NVIDIA
GeForce GTS 450 video card, so we removed the four screws that hold the
heat sink onto the GPU and off came the entire assembly. To remove the
GPU cooler from the shroud we just needed to remove four more screws.
When we went to clean off the surface of the heatsink we found a slippery waxy surface under the thermal compound. We aren't certain what this material is, but it won't peel off and was applied after it was machined down. NVIDIA was shown this photo before this article was posted and they weren't certain what this was either as the reference cards they have in the labs don't have this coating on them. They also suggest that it might be residue from removing the thermal compound, but even after using ArctiClean Thermal Material Remover the heat sink still had the lines on it and felt slick to the touch.
Here is a closer look at the power phase design on the NVIDIA reference design. It looks like three power phases are being used for the GPU and the last power phase is dedicated to the memory, so this would be a 3+1 power phase design.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 doesn't use the GF100 'Fermi' core like on the GTX 480/470/465 or the GF104 that is used on the GeForce GTX 460, but rather the new GF106 'Fermi' based derivative. The core is covered with a heat spreader that is rather large, as you can see from the image above. The markings on the GF106 core read 'GF106-250-KA-A1' on our NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB reference design card.
We always get e-mails asking for something to be used to put things into size perspective, so here is a United States Quarter Dollar. As you can see the new GF106 die is smaller than a quarter, but is still fairly large for a card that has an MSRP of $129.99.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTS 450 1GB reference card uses eight Samsung GDDR5 memory ICs that are part number K4G10325FE-HC05. Each one of the ICs is 128MB in size and that is how the card reaches its 1024MB frame buffer. If you look at the picture of the front of the PCB with the cooler removed you'll notice that two memory IC locations are missing on both the front and the back of the card. That means that if NVIDIA were to populate all the available memory locations with 128MB GDDR5 memory ICs that we could see GeForce GTS 450 video cards with 1.5GB of frame buffer down the road.
Let's take a look at the some of the AIB video cards and then the test system before we take a look at some performance numbers!
Next Page - ASUS, EVGA and MSI GTS 450 Video Cards
Page 1 - GeForce GTS 450 Brings NVIDIA DX11 to $129
Page 2 - A Closer Look At The GeForce GTS450
Page 3 - ASUS, EVGA and MSI GTS 450 Video Cards
Page 4 - The New NVIDIA R260 Series Drivers
Page 5 - The Test System
Page 6 - Aliens vs. Predator
Page 7 - Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY
Page 8 - Just Cause 2
Page 9 - Metro 2033
Page 10 - S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat
Page 11 - StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
Page 12 - 3DMark Vantage
Page 13 - Unigine 'Heaven' DX11
Page 14 - FurMark 1.8.2
Page 15 - Power Consumption
Page 16 - Temperature Testing
Page 17 - GeForce GTS 450 1GB Overclocking
Page 18 - Final Thoughts and Conclusions